Anxiety, fear, anger, mud-slinging, euphoria, calls for a second vote – we've had it all since we woke up last Friday morning. What is clear is that an historical moment has occurred; one that will shake not only our country but also many others around the world.
I heard the news of the referendum outcome on my way to the second day of a leadership conference. It was quite strange to be away from the usual barrage of social media notifications, emails and texts that I usually encounter. So the subsequent news of David Cameron's resignation, the impact on the pound, other resignations etc were only drip fed occasionally during the weekend's gathering. As someone who is usually so connected online it felt a little like being in a bubble away from the action.
And yet what was palpable was the immense feeling of significance. That we were gathered, 450 church leaders from across Europe, at a time of such flux and uncertainty, looking at themes like faith and hope. There was an overriding sense of the need to declare the kingdom of God as the only kingdom that is unshakeable.
I know that among Christians opinion is divided. Some were excited by the news – others anxious. But however we are feeling right now, I think the reminder we had (the afternoon before the voting result was known) that faith comes when we turn and look not at our circumstances but to Jesus is vital.
We know from Scripture that the kingdoms of this world come and go. Yes, we are caught up in the effects of that in our everyday lives and obviously last week's vote will directly impact us. However, we need to remember that we have a hope that so many others simply do not have. We belong to an unshakeable, unflappable, unsurprised King who knew exactly what was going to happen. It is to him that we need to look right now – and always. Asking him for his eternal perspective helps us not to get too caught up in the details of current events, and reminds us of the future hope that we possess as his people.
Whatever your political views, we have an amazing opportunity right now to share the hope that we have with those around us who may be anxious about what the future holds. So, in order to help us turn to fix our eyes on Jesus so that we can bring his hope to the world, I want to share some of the scriptures that can encourage us to be ready:
1. "The holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it for ever – yes, for ever and ever." (Daniel 7:18)
2. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 24:35)
3. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:18-20)
4. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
5. "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1:18-23)
6. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)
7. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28)
8. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)
9. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:3-4)
10. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15)
And here, finally, is a great psalm to meditate on. Remember, whatever difficult and uncertain circumstances we find ourselves in, God prepares a feast at his table for us in the midst of it:
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before mein the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow meall the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (Psalm 23)